I come from a family with a long history of farming, so it is no surprise that many of my ancestors were members of The Grange. Specifically, the Middle Ridge Grange (#385) of Delmar Township, where my great-grandmother and great-grandfather joined fellow Grangers for meetings, socials and policy discussions. 

The Patrons of Husbandry (aka The Grange) was a fraternal organization that supported farmers and rural communities through service, education, legislation and fellowship. They organized buyers' groups to get better rates on equipment, established social connections between isolated families, and worked to secure passage of pro-farming legislation in Harrisburg that would provide farm families opportunities to improve their lives and protect their interests. 

Grange members knew how to nurture soil, sustain their resources, and work together for common good. They also held excellent dances!
The spirit of the Grange is one that I believe is alive and well in our district. We believe in hard-nosed, commonsense solutions coming from local people to protect and benefit the community as a whole. 

People are tired of being divided. They are tired of feeling cut off from their neighbors. They are tired of being left out of the political process. Tired of the interests of small communities being pushed aside for the profits of big corporations.

I was tired of all of this, too, so I decided to do something about it. I am running for office to give people a choice who for too long have felt like they don’t have a voice.

LESSONS FROM MY DAD    by Carrie Heath

Dad with Carrie and Courtney, Carrie’s older sister. 
My Dad is Eugene (AKA Gene, AKA Geno) Heath. Dad graduated from a vo-tech high school and isn’t what most people would call “educated.” However, Dad is a voracious reader. We had periods where there was no tv, but there were ALWAYS books in the house. Dad read them all, some many times over. When he doesn’t have a book, he reads the paper or a magazine. If he doesn’t have either, he’ll read the back of a soup can or a cereal box. 
Lesson learned: “Never let schooling interfere with your education.” Read as much as you can, from all different sources, and let that knowledge inform your views of the world.
My dad is one of those rare people who can be genuinely content with very few material things (besides books). All he needs is some good tunes and good friends to be happy. 
Lesson learned: Live in the moment and be grateful for what you have.

Christmas, 1981. Lots of parents collapse on the couch at Christmas. But Dad, with Carrie’s uncle, had just driven twenty-four hours straight through to Texas to bring her back home for the holidays.
When we were little and gas was cheap, one of Dad’s favorite pastimes was driving around exploring back country roads. Sometimes we would see gorgeous scenery, or find a shortcut, or discover a new restaurant. Sometimes we would get to a point where you couldn’t go any further and would have to back up and head in another direction. Sometimes we would run out of gas!
Lesson learned: Choose adventure. Don’t get stuck in the same old routines. Yes, sometimes it won’t work out well, but that’s ok if you’re enjoying the ride.
My dad was a body mechanic. He is an artist when it comes to seeing the possibilities in rusted, mangled sheet metal, fiberglass, and plastic. We spent a lot of time as kids wandering around in junkyards while dad was looking for just the right part. My dad’s junk irritates a lot of people, including me sometimes. But I know that it comes from a place of him seeing value in things that other people would throw away, from a worldview that believes we waste too much and are not creative enough to find another use for something once it can no longer be used for its original purpose. 
Dad is like that with people, too. After he started doing construction instead of body work, he worked with the Tioga County Prison to allow a couple of different mechanics to use his shop for their work release. These were guys who had made mistakes and were paying off their debt to society. Dad’s willingness to see that they still had value as individuals, to recognize their skill despite their “rust”, gave those guys a chance at restoration.
Lessons learned: See beauty in unexpected places. Don’t throw things, or people, away so easily. 
In addition to having his own body shop, Dad also worked as a bartender for years. That is how many people know him. He makes a mean Bloody Mary and has a way of making everybody feel comfortable and welcomed. It takes a lot to make him angry, but there are a few things that will infuriate him in an instant - like a man hitting a woman. I remember seeing a man slap his wife in front of a crowd of people at Smokey’s. Then I watched Dad drag that man face-first down half the length of the bar, pick him up by the back of his pants, and literally throw him out the door.
Lessons learned: Never tolerate abuse from a man. And stick up for the people who can’t stick up for themselves.

Summer afternoon, Dad, the girls and the dog.

I used to teach basic computer classes for senior citizens. Dad was going along with me once to learn a little bit about all this new technology. We were almost to the school where I was teaching, when we saw a woman with a flat tire along the side of the road. Dad told me to pull over so he could help, but to get to my students on time. He could walk from there. He was a little late to class that night, but the lady got home safely.
Lessons learned: Be kind to strangers. Use your gifts and talents to help others. Integrity is not just a word; it is characterized in your actions.
Dad used to be shy when he was a kid. He tells a story about meeting a girl he knew in high school years later and how she told him that she used to have such a crush on him. Why didn’t he ever ask her to dance? He says that moment convinced him to come out of his shell, and he has never gone back. Dad makes new friends wherever he goes. He dances with joy and abandon. 
Lesson learned: Don’t let your own fears hold you back.
I was also painfully shy as a kid. I was “too shy” or “too smart” or “too opinionated” or “too independent” for many people. But not to my Dad. “That’s just Carrie,” he would say. He accepted me for exactly who I was, just like he does other people. For that unconditional acceptance, I will always be grateful to him and love him just the way he is.